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Messages - Steverem

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61
Your Turn / Re: "Less Room in the LCMS Brotherhood"
« on: August 04, 2015, 11:45:19 AM »

I know what you say, and I also know what you do. Actions speak louder than words.


So, to look at another issue currently being debated on this board, wouldn't the fact that the ELCA health plan allows for elective abortions for any reason at virtually any time in the pregnancy, and that no visible efforts have been made by the church to make abortions "safe, legal, and rare" trump any kind of official statement that purports to be in any way "pro-life"?  Actions speaking louder and such ...


62
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 03, 2015, 05:49:02 PM »

Back in the bad old barbaric days before Roe v. Wade  made abortion legal in nearly all circumstances for any reason, was it illegal to obtain a medically necessary abortion to save the life of the mother?


Nope.

Quote

Do we really need to make abortion legal in all or nearly situations so that they are legal for those instances outlined in the ELCA social statement?


Nope. 

Quote

That would be like saying that in order to allow for gun ownership and use for hunting and self-defense there must be no legal restrictions on gun ownership.


Yep.

63
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 03, 2015, 12:30:36 PM »
We kill lots of living things.

Why do you want the number of abortions to nearly disappear, BS? After all, you say, we kill lots of living things.


I want children to be wanted and loved. When that occurs, abortions will nearly disappear. Children will be more likely to grow up to be more responsible citizens that those who are told that they were unwanted and unloved. I have read an essay that suggested that the decrease in crime is due, in part, to fewer unwanted children being born. As I've stated, the problem is unwanted children. Abortion is seen by some as a solution (a bad solution in my opinion) to the problem. So, let's deal with the core problem.

Again, the "core problem" is the viewing of these living human beings as something less than human.  They don't miraculously become human when someone "wants and loves" them.  They are created and loved by God, and thus are deserving of our protection.

64
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 02, 2015, 04:20:51 PM »

I believe that "pro-life" is much more than just being against abortions.


Perhaps, but if it doesn't start there, it's not pro-life at all.


It starts with good sex education. It starts with developing positive self-esteem, especially in young girls. It starts with developing respect and gentleman-ness among young men for women. It starts with countering a statement a man I know often makes: "sex is the highest expression of love." I've suggested that changing diapers in one's child or in own's oldster spouse are higher expressions of love. Someone else suggested, when considering marrying someone, "Is he someone I'd be willing to change and clean a colostomy bag for?"


When the goal is to reduce unwanted pregnancies, there are many things that should be done before there's ever a pregnancy; including the many benefits of abstaining from sex until marriage. There are also many programs that could be in place so that should a woman find herself pregnant, she could be better encouraged to want to give birth to the child, such as funds for prenatal care and the costs of delivery. Counseling, especially for those who decide to give up their child for adoption.

If you believe the killing of innocents is somehow acceptable under any circumstance, then I don't trust you with any kind of moral formation.


Since you apparently would let a mother die rather than abort the child that is killing her, I question your moral formation.

Apparently the only thing worse than your ethics, pastor, is your reading comprehension.  I made it perfectly clear that not only is the decision to save the mother ethical, it was legal before Roe.  To use that as an argument for "choice" is, and I'll try to be charitable, insincere.

65
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 01, 2015, 06:11:32 PM »

I believe that "pro-life" is much more than just being against abortions.


Perhaps, but if it doesn't start there, it's not pro-life at all.


It starts with good sex education. It starts with developing positive self-esteem, especially in young girls. It starts with developing respect and gentleman-ness among young men for women. It starts with countering a statement a man I know often makes: "sex is the highest expression of love." I've suggested that changing diapers in one's child or in own's oldster spouse are higher expressions of love. Someone else suggested, when considering marrying someone, "Is he someone I'd be willing to change and clean a colostomy bag for?"


When the goal is to reduce unwanted pregnancies, there are many things that should be done before there's ever a pregnancy; including the many benefits of abstaining from sex until marriage. There are also many programs that could be in place so that should a woman find herself pregnant, she could be better encouraged to want to give birth to the child, such as funds for prenatal care and the costs of delivery. Counseling, especially for those who decide to give up their child for adoption.

If you believe the killing of innocents is somehow acceptable under any circumstance, then I don't trust you with any kind of moral formation.

66
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 01, 2015, 05:04:37 PM »

I believe that "pro-life" is much more than just being against abortions.


Perhaps, but if it doesn't start there, it's not pro-life at all.

67
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 01, 2015, 12:24:02 PM »
I also note that you failed to answer the question: Would you limit legal abortion to instances where the mother's life would be lost otherwise?  If so, how can you refer to such a position as "pro-choice"?  There really is no choice being made in such an instance.

68
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 01, 2015, 12:21:33 PM »
Wrong.  The question that must be answered is the humanity of the fetus.  As long as you are willing to deny that, you will never be able to end the practice.  The entire abortion industry hinges on the fact that the fetus is indistinguishable from a tumor to be excised.  It's why abortion providers are so adamant in defending the hideous practice of partial birth abortion - if they even start to acknowledge the humanity of that soon-to-be-born person, the very foundation of the industry disappears.  Conversely, as long as the humanity of the fetus is denied, there is absolutely no reason to deny its removal for any reason.  It is essentially cosmetic surgery.


I don't think that your distinction makes much of a difference in regards to the situations where abortion may be a responsible choice. For instance, even if the cells are viewed as human, abortions will still be done to save the life of the mother.

You willing to sign on to limiting abortions to cases where the mother's life would be lost otherwise?  I'd sign on to that.  (For the record, I don't believe such procedures were ever illegal - it's a misdirect from the abortion industry.  Plus, we're talking, what, a few hundred instances every year, as opposed to the millions of abortions annually?  You don't set policy based on the most extreme examples.)


Pretty much our ELCA Social Statement on Abortion does. There are three extreme situations where they say abortion may be a responsible choice. It is certainly not a pro-abotion document, which would make it anti-abortion? But it is also supports giving the mother, after consultation, the choice. Pro-choice and anti-abortion.

No, it really doesn't.  Looking at it right now.  It stops short of declaring the fetus as human life, and as a result, it doesn't identify abortion as the taking of life.  It throws in the loophole about the "life and health of the mother," which could be interpreted to include things like postpartum depression, anxiety over childbirth, or virtually any other reason one can conceive.

If it's a life, it has inherent, inalienable rights that cannot be trumped by the mother.  To be "pro-choice" by definition must deny this.

69
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 01, 2015, 12:04:38 PM »
Wrong.  The question that must be answered is the humanity of the fetus.  As long as you are willing to deny that, you will never be able to end the practice.  The entire abortion industry hinges on the fact that the fetus is indistinguishable from a tumor to be excised.  It's why abortion providers are so adamant in defending the hideous practice of partial birth abortion - if they even start to acknowledge the humanity of that soon-to-be-born person, the very foundation of the industry disappears.  Conversely, as long as the humanity of the fetus is denied, there is absolutely no reason to deny its removal for any reason.  It is essentially cosmetic surgery.


I don't think that your distinction makes much of a difference in regards to the situations where abortion may be a responsible choice. For instance, even if the cells are viewed as human, abortions will still be done to save the life of the mother.

You willing to sign on to limiting abortions to cases where the mother's life would be lost otherwise?  I'd sign on to that.  (For the record, I don't believe such procedures were ever illegal - it's a misdirect from the abortion industry.  Plus, we're talking, what, a few hundred instances every year, as opposed to the millions of abortions annually?  You don't set policy based on the most extreme examples.)

70
Your Turn / Re: Lump of cells vs human being
« on: August 01, 2015, 11:46:23 AM »
It seems to me that there might well be slight shift in public opinion with more coming out against abortion. If so and if it continues, we might see the end in our lifetime.


Abortions will end when there are no more pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother, when there are no more unwanted pregnancies, especially those that result from rape and incest, when there are no longer birth defects that will cause the newborn to die within hours.


As I, and many others with whom I converse, see it, there are two separate issues. There is the issue of abortion: if and when it might be a responsible choice, e.g., to save the life of the mother.


There is the separate issue of who makes the decision about whether or not an abortion is warranted. I hear many speaking out against the government deciding who can and can't own a gun; but some of those same people want the government to decide who can or can't have an abortion.


I recently posted on Facebook that many ELCAers that I've talked with are pro-choice and anti-abortion. They are against nearly all abortions, but they believe that the decision rests primarily (but not only) with the mother - not with the government.


I've also argued that I don't believe abortion is the real problem. It is seen as a solution to a problem. The problem is unwanted pregnancies. Eliminate them and there would be no reason for most abortions.

Wrong.  The question that must be answered is the humanity of the fetus.  As long as you are willing to deny that, you will never be able to end the practice.  The entire abortion industry hinges on the fact that the fetus is indistinguishable from a tumor to be excised.  It's why abortion providers are so adamant in defending the hideous practice of partial birth abortion - if they even start to acknowledge the humanity of that soon-to-be-born person, the very foundation of the industry disappears.  Conversely, as long as the humanity of the fetus is denied, there is absolutely no reason to deny its removal for any reason.  It is essentially cosmetic surgery.

For years in this country, slavery was viewed as acceptable because the men and women who were slaves were viewed as something less than fully human.  Once their humanity was acknowledged, the practice became untenable.  I believe that once we can establish that the fetus is human, the support of the practice will evaporate.  And at the root, I believe most people believe at their core that it is indeed something living - how else to explain the discomfort about the recent videos by others, like Hillary Rodham Clinton, who have previously given unfettered support to abortion rights and Planned Parenthood.  If it is mere tissue, there's no reason to find the videos at all disturbing.  I think we all know in our hearts that the fetus is more than mere tissue, no matter how many times the abortion industry tries to tell us otherwise.

Yesterday's George Will column does an excellent job of laying this out.  My hope is that there will be a national awakening on this matter like there was for slavery.  I pray constantly that this comes true.

71
In the cases closest to me, it was more of a local issue than any kind of disagreement with a national policy or teaching.  Mom left her ELCA congregation after a growing frustration with the pastor, who seemed more interested in offering meditations on life than he was of proclaiming the Gospel.  She began attending the LCMS congregation down the road, and found it to be closer to her beliefs.  (She and dad had met at a Luther League gathering at an LCMS church - the one in Cincinnati where Buckeye Deaconess and her husband had served until recently - so it wasn't a huge stretch.)

As for me, when I moved into the DC area, I was intent on finding an ELCA congregation that would at least be accepting of my more traditional beliefs.  After several misses, I did begin attending one that I enjoyed.  I met with the pastor for several hours one evening to discuss matters of doctrine and practice.  Despite a couple significant disagreements, I still enjoyed the church, and continued to attend.  Then, one Sunday, the pastor ceded the pulpit to a director of a local Jewish social service group to talk about her group's efforts in lieu of a sermon.  While her comments were perfectly fine, and would have been great had they been given during an adult education class in-between services, it bothered me immensely that a pastor would allow a non-Christian to use the pulpit to promote something other than the Gospel.  To me, it showed that a social gospel had replaced the cross as the central focus for the church.

I began attending an LCMS church on the other side of town which reminded me of the ALC church in which I had been raised.  (LBWs, even!)  I've been a member there for about 15 years now, served on the church council, and have volunteered many hours with the church youth.  More importantly, I met my wife there (an LCMS "preacher's kid"), proposed to her in the prayer garden, married, and baptized four kids at the church, so I'm pretty locked in at this point.

As for family reaction - pretty much a shrug of the shoulders.  Many of my relatives (including all three of my brothers) have left Lutheranism entirely for non-denominational churches.  The one aunt and uncle who were a little surprised that anyone would voluntarily leave the ELCA for the LCMS did admit that they would have no problem with the switch if the church they ended up attending was like the one my mom or I now attend, indicating that their old perceptions of the LCMS might not be entirely accurate.  (Perhaps ironically, none of their kids are now Lutheran - they all attend conservative, non-denominational churches, with one actually serving as a pastor.)

72
Your Turn / Re: "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« on: July 27, 2015, 03:16:21 PM »
So much for ELCA's lofty quota diversity system that was set in place when the church was formed back in '88.

Guess it must have failed...

Glass houses, my friend ...

73
Your Turn / "Lutheran Diversity" - and Other Myths
« on: July 27, 2015, 02:31:51 PM »
Figured someone would see this article and post - might as well be me.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/

The Lutheran churches (yes, plural) are officially the whitest churches in the country.

74
Your Turn / Re: Indulgences
« on: July 22, 2015, 10:00:26 AM »

I've never been able to understand the whole indulgence construct.  "Sure, you're assured eternity in Heaven.  Eventually.  Jesus took care of that.  But we, the Church hierarchy, control your passage from here to there.  Earn enough points here on earth, it'll go quickly and easily.  Otherwise, you will have many years during which you will bear the temporal consequences of your sin.  So pay up know!  Or you assuredly will be sorry later.  Oh, God bless you and have a nice day."  That assuredly is too cynical.  But it's the way the whole thing appears to my Lutheran eyes.  Are there temporal consequences flowing from sin?  No question.  But I don't think that you dispense with those through transactions that look much like those undertaken by the temple moneychangers. 


From your description, it certainly sounds like collecting frequent flyer miles on Eschaton Air.  Earn points!  Upgrade your accommodations!  Transfer your unused points to friends and family!  Wonder what the on-flight movie is going to be ...


I did use miles for my plane ticket to Georgia.  (Delta miles for flights on Aeroflot.)  Eschaton Air would be an experience! :)

There's a joke in there somewhere about the "Devil going down to Georgia," but it's early, and I'm still catching up on my morning caffeine intake.   ;)

75
Your Turn / Re: Indulgences
« on: July 22, 2015, 09:46:14 AM »

I've never been able to understand the whole indulgence construct.  "Sure, you're assured eternity in Heaven.  Eventually.  Jesus took care of that.  But we, the Church hierarchy, control your passage from here to there.  Earn enough points here on earth, it'll go quickly and easily.  Otherwise, you will have many years during which you will bear the temporal consequences of your sin.  So pay up know!  Or you assuredly will be sorry later.  Oh, God bless you and have a nice day."  That assuredly is too cynical.  But it's the way the whole thing appears to my Lutheran eyes.  Are there temporal consequences flowing from sin?  No question.  But I don't think that you dispense with those through transactions that look much like those undertaken by the temple moneychangers. 


From your description, it certainly sounds like collecting frequent flyer miles on Eschaton Air.  Earn points!  Upgrade your accommodations!  Transfer your unused points to friends and family!  Wonder what the on-flight movie is going to be ...

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